Frequently Asked Questions
This page should have all of the answers to your questions about our Galapagos Liveaboard, the Humboldt Explorer. If you still have questions, you can contact us. If you'd like to save a copy of these helpful tips, you can download the Trip Information Sheet.
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Minimum Age Restrictions
The minimum certifiable age for divers is 10 for most SCUBA certification agencies; normally, the agencies restrict 10 and 11 year olds to a maximum depth of 40 ft. Explorer Ventures Fleet therefore allows children as young as 10 years to participate in our trips, with the following restrictions:
- All children under the age of 15 must travel and dive with their parent or guardian, unless undergoing active training with an instructor.
- This itinerary offers no diving opportunities at depths less than 40 feet; diving opportunities for 10 and 11 year olds are not available on this itinerary. For this reason, a minimum age of 15 for divers is strongly suggested.
- A parent/legal guardian will be required to sign the liability release on behalf of a child under the age of 18.
To ensure your safety, we require the following of all divers:
- All divers must be certified as open water scuba divers by an internationally recognized certification organization.
- All divers must be experienced divers (we recommend that you have more than 100 logged dives) and have logged at least one dive within the 6 months prior to boarding the vessel. Dives are very often at an advanced level. Currents can be very strong and often divers are required to swim against them.
- All dives are guided by an instructor/naturalist guide and due to Galapagos National Park regulations all divers must dive with the guide at all times.
- All divers must log in and out of the water with a member of the diving staff.
- All divers must have a submersible console. In addition, a timepiece must be worn by at least one diver in a buddy team. Dive computers are strongly recommended.
- Decompression and solo diving are not allowed under any conditions. The maximum allowed depth is 130’ (110’ on nitrox).
- Diving activities must cease when the consumption of alcohol begins.
- All divers must present proof of dive accident insurance per Galapagos National Park regulations.
- All divers must also carry a DiveAlert, a surface signaling device, and an electronic beacon while diving (all available on board). Guests are responsible for all items they borrow from the vessel.
- Please note that, due to a combination of staff and equipment logistics, insurance requirements and local diving regulations, neither rebreathers nor diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) may not be used aboard Explorer Ventures Fleet vessels.
- Please note that flash photography is not permitted while taking photos of wildlife. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
Packing for a liveaboard trip is much easier than packing for a land-based vacation. The climate doesn’t require much more than shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits though at sea the winds can be cold and jackets are often necessary. Soft luggage is recommended as it takes up very little space when empty. Sun screens, sunglasses, a visor, raincoat, lightweight sweater or jacket, long sleeved shirt, backpack, tevas and a hat are recommended. Guests traveling through Quito who are interested in day tours may wish to bring some items of clothing for slightly cooler temperatures and good walking shoes.
Please remember that the Galapagos Islands straddle the Equator and the sun can be very strong at times. For this reason please make sure you have sufficient strength sunscreen. In case of rough weather or if you have a tendency towards seasickness, come prepared with motion sickness medications or Transderm patches from your doctor. If you have favorite CD’s or DVD’s, feel free to bring them.All linens (including sheets, comforters, bath towels, hand towels, dive towels, and wash cloths) are provided on board.
If possible, pack your regulator, dive computer, mask, a swimsuit, change of clothes, medications and toiletries in your carry-on bag. Having these few items with you will make an unexpected luggage delay far more bearable.
There is a limit on checked-in luggage for flights to and from Quito and/or Guayaquil to the Galapagos of one bag up to 50 pounds (23 kilos). An additional fee of up to US$2.00* per 2.2 pounds (1 kilo) to and from Quito will be charged for luggage over the limit and US$2.00* per 2.2 pounds (1 kilo) to and from Guayaquil. In addition, passengers are allowed a carry-on bag weighing no more than 17.6 pounds (8 kilos) and a personal item. All additional luggage fees must be paid in cash at flight time. *These prices could change at anytime. Groups and individuals that book hotel and transfers with Explorer Ventures will be assisted by a representative at the airport for check-in and are less likely to be charged additional fees.
- Certification Card
- Diving Log Book (strongly encouraged)
- Booties (if you wear them)
- Buoyancy Control Device (required) *
- Regulator w/alternate air source, submersible pressure and depth gauges (required)*
- Underwater time piece (required)
- Dive computer *
- Dive light
- Tank Marker Lights (required for night dives)
- Wet suit – 5 mm to 7 mm *
- Hooded vest
- Repair kit w/ spare parts
- Safety flag
- DiveAlert air horn for regulator
* Available for rent on board
Most of our guests bring their own complete set of dive gear. This is the ideal situation, however, due to weight limits or additional travel plans some of our guests choose to rent gear. We strongly recommend that you bring your own mask, gloves, booties, fins, hood or hooded vest and computer. A personal wetsuit is also a good idea if you have space. Diving in Galapagos can be challenging and it is important that you are comfortable.
Transfers within the Galapagos are included in your package for same day arrivals on the island of departure for the vessel. You will be met at the airport in Galapagos by one of our tour guides. If you miss any of your flights and are not able to make it to Ecuador or the Galapagos on schedule, please contact Galasam, our Ecuadorian partner, at 011-593-99703-1382 or 011-593-99529-7471 and notify them of your updated arrival time should you have that information, and where you may be reached in the meantime. The vessel will leave port on Monday at approximately 2:00pm. Retrieving lost luggage after the vessel departs on charter is impossible. It can be retrieved when the vessel returns to port at the end of the charter.
The vessel arrives at its final destination port on Monday morning. The Sunday evening meal is on the island and is not included in the price of the trip. Transportation is organized and included for transfer to the airport. The departure tax from Quito and Guaayquil is now included in international flight prices.
Please note: Flight times, prices and the Galapagos airport of arrival are all subject to change with little or no notification, and flights often run late. We strongly encourage our guests to plan on arriving at least one and preferably two days prior to your flight to the Galapagos Islands, to ensure that your luggage is with you or to make up for any travel delays. We also recommend that guests plan on an extra night in Quito or Guayaquil upon departing Ecuador. The earliest time a guest can reliably expect to connect to another flight is 10 p.m on the last Monday of the trip. Ticket holders are required to check-in a minimum of three hours prior to flight time for all international departures, even when connecting from an Aerogal or Tame flight. If you are booking your own domestic flights, the Humboldt Explorer departs from San Cristobal (SCY), not Baltra (GPS). Passengers flying into Baltra must arrange their own transportation to San Cristobal.
- Chamber Support Fee: US$35 per person
- Note: entry to the Galapagos Islands also requires cash payment of US$100 entry fee, as well as the purchase of Tourist Card for US$20 in cash
- Fuel Surcharge: US$150 per person
- Crew gratuities
- Incoming and outgoing telephone calls
- Dive instruction
- Dive gear rentals (other than tanks, weights and weight belts)
- Retail sales (shirts, scuba accessories, etc.)
The bill may be paid at the end of the trip using cash, Visa, or MasterCard. American Express, traveler’s checks and personal checks are not accepted on board, and we are unable to advance cash on credit card charges. Travelers checks are not accepted in Ecuador nor can they easily be changed into cash. Gratuities and onboard charges are best paid in cash. This avoids any additional Ecuadorian taxes and service fees. Credit cards are subject to the 14% VAT plus 5% in bank fees. Bills will be settled onboard on Sunday morning. ATM machines are available in Quito, Guayaquil, Puerto Ayora and San Cristobal.
- 7 nights/8 days aboard vessel
- 3 meals daily, plus between-dive snacks
- 2 - 4 dives daily – total of 18-19 dives
- Use of tanks, weights, and belts
- All domestic alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Airport transfers
- Hotel accommodations
- Flights to/from Galapagos
- Last evening dinner
- Rental, instruction, nitrox and retail charges
- Crew gratuities
- Trip cancellation & dive accident insurance
- Premium alcoholic beverages
- National marine park fees
- TCT tourist card
- Hyperbaric chamber fee
- Fuel surcharge
- Current Onboard Charges
- Visit The Galapagos Conservancy website
- Visit The Darwin Foundation website
- Visit Galapagos Geology On the Web
- Visit the Galapagos Education website made by the National Science Teachers Association
- Watch Voyage to the Galapagos by Scientific American Frontiers (Season 10, Episode 1)
- Visit the United States State Dept. Passport Services - Need to get a passport or update your old passport before your next international dive trip? Forget about standing in line. At this site, you can download an application, get a list of passport office locations and find out what you need to get a passport.
- Visit the U.S. Department of State travel information
- For current health recommendations, please see Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.